Campaign leaders urge public to have their say on future of former Southwold hospital
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Leaders behind a campaign to ensure a former hospital remains open for public use are urging members of the community to attend a meeting to have their say on the site's future.
Members of the Save Our Southwold Hospital (SOS) campaign, which are fighting to ensure the former cottage hospital building in Southwold remains available for public use, will host the meeting on Thursday, April 20.
Laurence Vulliamy, chairman of SOS, said: 'We'd like everybody from the area to hear what SOS has achieved so far, and how we propose to use the site for the benefit of the community.
'We have been working extremely hard over the last year and believe our bid for Southwold's old hospital is robust and comprehensive. This is the most exciting decision that Southwold has faced for many years.'
Following a series of fundraising events SOS commissioned architectural plans and a feasibility study from TechEast, the driver of the digital economy in East Anglia.
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TechEast confirmed that more than 60 new jobs could be established within a new business and community hub on Southwold's former hospital site.
SOS has also been offered business support from The Prince's Regeneration Trust and a grant of £684,000 by Waveney District Council from the Community Housing Fund to provide affordable homes on the site.
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These homes could be built around the new technical business space, a new home for the public library and a farm-to-fork café.
A spokesman for NHS Properties Services said: 'This site has been declared surplus to NHS requirements by healthcare commissioners, the Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England.
'Our role is to secure best value on behalf of the NHS when the site is sold. In the first instance we have offered the property to public sector partners in the usual way, but no interest was received and we are therefore marketing the site for sale.
'We will continue to work with the local planning authority to explore potential uses to maximise value and the community group, which has expressed an interest and has been advised that the site is on the market.'
The meeting will be held from 6pm at St Edmund's Hall (Southwold Arts Centre).
The guest speakers will include Suffolk Coastal MP Thérèse Coffey, John Lefever, regional director of The Hastoe Group, Ian Buxton managing director of TechEast, and Southwold Town councillor Jessica Jeans.
For more details visit: www.sosa.help or call 07768 395465.